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New York City Research Initiative

Research Projects at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Go to projects in: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2015

A Study of Blue Carbon in Jamaica Bay 2015
Team Members

Principal Investigator/Mentor:Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Educator: Stephanie Stern

Undergraduate Intern: Mohammad Reza

High School Intern: Stephen Kovari

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Carbon that is sequestered in coastal ecosystems and intertidal marshes is known as "blue carbon." We investigated and analyzed sediment cores of three marshes in the Hudson Estuary to determine the amount of organic matter and carbon sequestered within them. Maps of Jamaica Bay from 250 years to the present are used to determine why there is a shift in organic matter and a decline in inorganic matter within the last estimated 300 years. We uncovered two possible impacts: i) the growth of Rockaway Spit over the last 250 years has elongated it, limiting the flow of seawater and sand into the bay, and ii) deep dredging may have altered the water flow and deposition of sediments within the bay itself.

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Earth's Past as a Window on Exoplanet Habitability
Team Members

Principal Investigator/Mentor: Dr. Linda Sohl

Educator: Mary Anne Woody

Graduate Intern: Francesca Lingo

High School Intern: Jonathon Chin

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Habitable planets, by definition, have a surface environment capable of supporting liquid water, which is vital to life as we know it. Earth’s history illustrates phases of habitability that we can use to understand the conditions under which life can arise and thrive, and to guide future NASA missions seeking habitable worlds. As our case study, we examine here an extreme ice age referred to as "Snowball Earth." This event took place ca. 715 million years ago, when life appears to have been making significant evolutionary strides from simple single-celled microscopic organisms to complex multicellular organisms visible to the naked eye. The geologic record suggests that the Snowball Earth world was quite cold and hostile, with widespread snow and ice on both land and ocean. Where was life finding space to survive? The expectation among paleobiologists has been that for marine life, ocean temperature would be a controlling factor.

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FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) Thermal and Visual Cameras to Analyze Urban Microclimate
Team Members

Principal Investigator/Mentor: Dr. Stuart R. Gaffin

Educator: Alan Roditi

Graduate Intern: Ethan Johnson

High School Intern: Andrew Chui

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is the phenomenon where urban areas retain heat because of their composition of low albedo materials such as asphalt and concrete. Past research using thermal spot sensors revealed that white and green roofs remain cooler than traditional black asphalt roofs. Also, we know the powerful cooling effects of urban vegetation, in the form of bioswales, at the street level. The objective of our study is to expand this research of the well known cooling effects of alternate roofs and urban vegetation by using thermal infrared cameras, while learning the potential of this technology in the study of urban climate. We used a FLIR T650SC thermal camera to gather data on the roofscape and streetscape. This research confirmed what we already knew about white roofs, green roofs, and bioswales. However, the infrared camera captures the entire thermal scene, rather than a mere point like prior data collection. The immensity of the data coupled with more efficient data processing allows us to learn more about the thermal landscape than prior research methods. The new technology enhances our ability to understand urban climate and inform policymakers on adaptation strategies to climate change in New York City and beyond.

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West African Monsoon Climate Modeling
Team Members

Principal Investigator/Mentor: Dr. Matthew B. Fulakeza

Educator: Pedro N. Plácido, Jr.

Graduate Intern: Lucien Simpfendoerfer

High School Intern: Isaac Guerrero

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The West African Monsoon (WAM) is a seasonal climate system that affects the Sahel region of West Africa. The WAM supplies most of the annual accumulation of precipitation to the Sahel during June - September, nourishing farmland. Agriculture is the main source of income for Sahel's population. Because of the socio-economic impacts of Sahel rainfall, predicting that rainfall is important. The African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), based in Niamey, Niger, uses the Regional Model 3 (RM3), a regional climate model developed at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), to issue daily precipitation forecasts for the Sahel. However, daily weather forecasts produced by the RM3 require more extensive evaluation. In this project, precipitation forecasts made by the model during the region’s 2014 rainy season are evaluated by comparing the model’s forecasts to observations from 52 weather stations in the region, and to forecasts made by the National Center for Environmental Prediction’s (NCEP’s) Global Forecast System (GFS) weather model. The performance of various historical precipitation datasets (derived from station observations, satellites, and other observations), such as the Climate Prediction Center Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP), Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP), and Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), are also compared over West Africa, to assess the value of using each of these datasets as a baseline for evaluating model performance. The study finds that the GFS is more skillful in predicting precipitation over West Africa during June-September 2014. While the GFS produces too many moderate forecasts, the RM3 produces too many heavy forecasts, especially just north of the Gulf of Guinea. The RM3 also under predicts rainfall over the Sahel, between 13N and 16N. The study also finds that differences between the CMAP and GPCP precipitation datasets, as represented by their 1998-2010 means, are small, relative to their differences with TRMM.

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What is Past is Prologue — Climate Systems in the Present and Past
Team Members

Principal Investigator/Mentor: Dr. Allegra N. LeGrande

Educator: Susan Meabh Kelly

Graduate Intern: Leon Yin

High School Intern: Cassandra Kopans-Johnson

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Water isotopes (16O and 18O, see *) are tracers of the hydrologic cycle. Heavy isotopes are more common in liquid form; when water changes phase, heavy isotopes tend to remain in the liquid form. This 'fractionation’ yields a correlation between the amount of rainout in an air parcel and the depletion of the heavy isotope (Rayleigh Distillation). The provenance of meteoric water sources can be inferred through samples of stable isotopes of ocean water. The abundance and distribution of these isotopes are also linked to the temperature at which water vapor condenses and precipitates (Dansgaard, 1964).
For the ocean, freshwater processes impact the heavier 18O as they impact salinity, yielding a regional linear relationship (Craig and Gordon, 1965). The relationship breaks down on larger scales because water is evaporated and transported between ocean regions. Water isotopes are also important because they are preserved in archives like ice cores and thus can provide a proxy for climates of the past.
Observations from the past sixty years of 𝛿18Oseawater were compiled into a database by Schmidt et al. (1999), and subsequently used to calculate a three-dimensional 1°x1° 𝛿18O global gridded dataset by LeGrande and Schmidt (2006; LS06). Although the Schmidt et al. (1999) Global Seawater Oxygen-18 Database (𝛿18Oobs) contains 25,514 measurements used to calculate the global gridded dataset, LS06 point out that, "data coverage varies greatly from region to region," with seasonal variability creating biases in areas where sea ice is present.

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Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2014

Evaluation of RM3 Weather Forecasts Over Western Africa During the 2013 Summer Monsoon
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Lenoard Druyan
Dr. Mathew Fulakeza

Team Members:
Lucien Simpfendoerfer, Undergraduate, Ari Rubinsztejn, High School Student
Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The West African Monsoon (WAM) is a seasonal reversal of winds that brings a season-long period of heavy precipitation to the region. Its arrival indicates the onset of the wet season that Africa's agricultural economy relies so heavily on. To help the region minimize the effects of climate change on its economy, we must first understand how the WAM will change. Several factors, including changing patterns in sea surface temperatures (SST's), aerosols, and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, may affect the behavior of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), and therefore the variability of the monsoon.

The global climate model (Model E2) developed at NASA GISS helps to predict climate changes. However, this model has some deficiencies capturing climatic features, perhaps at least partially due to its lower spatial resolution. The Columbia University/NASA GISS has therefore developed a regional climate model, the Regional Model 3 (RM3), which has better spatial resolution, and can be driven by either reanalysis or Model E2 data, to hopefully help predict these changes.

In this study, our goal was to test the RM3's facility in making daily forecasts when driven by the Global Forecast System (GFS), a global weather model developed by the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). This was the RM3's first evaluation while not driven by reanalysis. It is worth mentioning that the RM3 was not developed to produce daily forecasts while being driven by the GFS; instead, it was developed for long-term simulations. We ran the model, gridded at 0.5°, and compared point forecasts for 52 African weather stations with observations made by those stations.

Results show that the RM3 underestimated precipitation in the northern Sahel, and overestimated precipitation in the southern Sahel, with the disparities increasing as the rainy season progressed. This implies that the model did not bring the ITCZ far enough north. Overall, precipitation forecasts are slightly overestimated. The RM3 often predicts precipitation when it doesn't rain, and predicts too little precipitation when it rains especially heavily. The RM3 underestimates maximum temperature forecasts, and overestimates minimum temperature forecasts. Diurnal range forecasts are half as large as observed ranges. Correlations between forecast and observed values for precipitation, maximum temperature, and minimum temperature are highest around Mauritania, around Lake Chad, in the rainforest area along the border between Cameroon and the Central African Republic, and along the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Correlations between forecast and observed maximum and minimum temperatures are also high in the far northern Sahel around Niger. Root mean square errors (RMSEs) for precipitation are higher when average precipitation amounts are higher. Maximum temperature RMSEs decrease from June through early August, and then increase, with average maximum temperatures, while minimum temperature RMSE's do not show any interseasonal trends. Threat scores are often between 0.4 and 0.6, which shows that precipitation forecasts are encouraging.

This evaluation of the RM3's performance when forced by the GFS demonstrates the RM3's strengths and weaknesses. We hope that it will hint at how the RM3's performance can be improved.

Sunscreen for the City: Using White Roofs to Combat the Urban Heat Island Effect
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Stuart Gaffin
Cynthia Rosenzweig

Team Members:
Nicolette Nunez, Undergraduate, Nicholas Hoffman, High School Teacher
Alan Roditi, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: In our study, we focused mainly on evaluating the effectiveness of the NYC ºCool Roofs Program, which uses white elastomeric acrylic paint to cool rooftops. We took surface and air temperature readings on three NYPD building sites throughout the summer. Most rooftops in NYC are colored black and therefore have a very low albedo. The term albedo is used to describe how much visible light and radiation a surface reflects. It is evaluated on a scale of 0 to 1 where 0 is completely absorbing and 1 is completely reflecting. Black roofs typically have an albedo of 0.1, whereas white roofs typically have an albedo of 0.7. Using Thermoworks Infrared Sensors, we took surface temperatures of black asphalt, 1-year aged white, and fresh white roof surfaces. Our results should show that the temperature of the fresh white control patch is 20°F lower than the aged white surface and 67º F lower than the black asphalt surface.

Wetland Carbon Project 2014
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Stephen Kovari
Deniece Brown
Natalie Williams

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Wetlands play a major role in the carbon cycle, and have been estimated to constitute for up to 25% of global terrestrial carbon. If marshes are destroyed, much of this carbon could be released back into the atmosphere further contributing to global warming. In this study we calculated the amount of carbon stored in Piermont, Constitution, and Haverstraw Marshes as well as the organic and inorganic composition, nitrogen and heavy metals present.

"Snowball Earth": Implications for the Evolution of Complex Life and Exoplanet Habitability
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl

Team Members:
Jonathan Chin
Sadchla Mathieu
Jayanthi Ramaswamy

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The Neoproterozoic "Snowball Earth" (750-635 Ma, Ma = million years ago) is an extreme glaciation, or ice age, of interest to both paleobiologists (scientists who study the origin and evolution of life) and astrobiologists (scientists who are interested in the potential for life on exoplanets). The "hard snowball" hypothesis (Hoffman and Schrag, 2001) suggests that the ocean was almost completely frozen over during this time. Here we test the plausability of the hard snowball hypothesis through global climate model (GCM) simulations, and compare the model results to habitat requirements of the complex organisms thought to have evolved shortly before or during the glaciation. Our GCM results do not support a hard snowball scenario, but rather a "soft snowball" or "slushball" scenario that is more in line with habitat requirements of complex life. We also find extensive areas of liquid water despite the fact that the global average surface air temperature is well below freezing (0°C), so astrobiologists looking for potentially habitable exoplanets need to consider expanding their guidelines for finding worlds with at least some liquid surface water that would permit the existence of life.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2013

Evaluation of RM3 Weather Forecasts over Western Africa
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Lenoard Druyan
Dr. Mathew Fulakeza

Team Members:
Kristal Quispe, Undergraduate Student
Kush Dave, High School Student
Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The West African Monsoon (WAM) is a climatological moisture system in the Sahel region of Western Africa. The WAM supplies the annual source of precipitation to the countries within western Africa during the summer months of June to September, providing rich fertile soil for farmland. The agriculture in this region is the main source of income for the people residing within it. Due to the socio-economic impacts of Sahelian Rainfall it is important to understand the factors affecting its variability. This includes changing pattern of Sea Surface Temperature's (SST's), the position of the Intertropical Convergence zone (ITCZ), aerosols, and increasing concentrations of Green house gases. Thus, the development of reliable climatological models in order to predict rainfall trends in the near and distant future is crucial. Regional Climate Models (RCMs) are continuously being tested due to their higher spatial resolution. The Regional Model (RM3) developed at GISS is running and producing data for the area of interest, which stretches from Senegal to Niger. The objective of our study is to compare RM3 forecasts to observational station data to validate the accuracy of the model. Once the data from the RM3 was retrieved it was compared with data from 42 weather stations in Africa. In addition, generated maps of RM3 simulations were compared with TRMM satellite data due to inconsistencies in the reliability of observational data.

Going Green, Keeping Cool:The Cooling Power of Urban Vegetation
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Emma Hartung, Undergraduate Student
Akil Grubb, High School Student
Alan Roditi, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: New York City's recent summer heat wave has made the Urban Heat Island effect—the tendency of cities to be warmer than surrounding areas due to their lack of vegetation and high concentrations of cement and asphalt—an even greater concern. Urban vegetation serves as a tool to mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect due to evapotranspiration. In New York City, Central Park's 843 acres of greenery and the growing number of green roofs throughout the five boroughs are cooling the urban landscape. We sought to quantify their effects.

Study of Ecosystem Services of Marshes of New York City
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Karina Alventosa, Undergraduate Student
Marlo Moses, High School Student
Argie Miller, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. In the coming decades, wetland protection must become a priority before all wetland areas are destroyed. In a world where cost and economic profit dominate decisions, it is imperative to assign monetary worth and value to environmental systems. This economic assessment of the ecosystems can be then more easily be compared to other regions to ensure that the public is aware of its many values at the local, regional, and global scale. A method using ecosystem services will be utilized for this region. Since 2005, ecosystem services have been incorporated into public policy and conservation fund allotment. Wetlands provide a myriad of ecosystem services and one of particular interest is the measurement of carbon storage. This "blue carbon" is stored in tidal and riverine marshes. We calculate that Jamaica Bay marshes are 15 km2 in area, and four marshes of Jamaica Bay: Big Egg, Four Sparrow, Yellow Bar, and JoCo were cored and measured for carbon content. We calculated 100- 800 g C/m2, we have currently 150E6 – 1200E6 g C stored in the surface sediment. We are planning to provide a complete valuation of the ecosystem services of Jamaica Bay in conjunction with data provided by the Jamaica Bay, NYC.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: A Case-Study of Two NYC Neighborhoods
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl

Team Members:
Anfal Boussayoud, Undergraduate Student
Jonathan Chin, High School Student
Malgosia Madajewicz, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: New York City was recently hit hard by Hurricane Sandy at the end of October, which killed more than fifty people and proved that the city was in dire need to update its storm management programs. Mayor Bloomberg announced his project, PlaNYC and detailed the types of protection they are going to enact in certain areas of the city in order to prevent another storm from striking with equal force. However, much of the details the plan goes into were already enacted before the storm and proved to have been less than efficient at preventing damage. It is evident that if actual progress for storm preparation would be made, more factors must taken into account. For this project we looked at two different NYC neighborhoods to achieve two objectives: 1) to see how communities responded to the storm and how this affected total damage, and 2)to get an idea of other measures the city could take in preventing storm damage by using this community response.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2012

Performance of RM3 Weather Forecasts over West Africa during June — September 2011
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Lenoard Druyan
Dr. Mathew Fulakeza

Team Members:
David Liebers, Undergraduate Student
Kush Dave, High School Student
Dr. Gerald Rabl, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The West African Monsoon is a climatological moisture system in the Sahel region of Western Africa. The rainfall follows a cyclic pattern of moisture that shifts north and south seasonally, which supplies the annual source of precipitation to this area during the summer months of June through September. The Regional Model (RM3) at the Center for Climate Systems Research of Columbia University and the NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is producing weather forecasts for West Africa. RM3 daily forecast simulations for rainfall, minimum and maximum surface air temperature extracted at specific locations corresponding to 36 weather stations in the West African region are validated against the stations' measurements. Furthermore, daily mean precipitation and surface air temperature forecasts by the RM3 are validated against TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) and NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) Reanalysis 2 over the season June through September 2011. The validation also considers the time correlation between model and observed parameters throughout the whole season. We found areas with good prediction of seasonal trends and relatively high correlation in the daily prediction as well as areas where the RM3 simulation outcome is relatively poor.

Colling the Community: Gardens to Mitigate the Heat Island Effect
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Lowell Brazin, Undergraduate Student
Lauren Shum, High School Student
Alan Roditi, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: New York City has a tendency to heat up significantly during the summer months.  This is a direct result of the Urban Heat Island Effect; which is primarily due to the city's lack of vegetation to offset the temperatures as well as the heavily concentrated areas of asphalt and cement.  However, there are two very large sources of vegetation found in the city.  The first is Central Park, which spans 843 acres.  The second are community gardens, of which there are currently 490 and numerous others that are up and coming. They are primarily situated in Harlem due to the New York City economic collapse in the 1970's that created numerous vacant lots.

Our study focuses on evaluating whether green spaces in New York City has any cooling effect on its surrounding areas. Our first experiment took place along Central Park on 79th Street to determine if any "park effect" occurs during the day. Our second experiment took involved multiple community gardens located in East Harlem.  The air and surface temperatures were measured by a Thermoworks infrared thermometer.  The measurements were consequently graphed and compared to the official temperatures in Central Park.  Findings were found that temperatures under vegetation were significantly cooler than those taken in direct sunlight.

Jamaica Bay: Carbon Sequestration and Valuation
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Karina Alventosa, Undergraduate Student
Sarvar Akobirova, High School Student
Argie Miller, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Wetlands are the most productive ecosystems on the planet. In the coming decades, wetland protection must become a priority before all wetland areas are destroyed. In a world where cost and economic profit dominate decisions, it is imperative to assign monetary worth and value to environmental systems. This economic assessment of the ecosystems can be then more easily be compared to other regions to ensure that the public is aware of its many values at the local, regional, and global scale.

Jamaica Bay provides a myriad of ecosystem services and one of particular interest is the measurement of carbon storage. The purpose of the project is to measure and compare the amount of carbon sequestered in four marshes of Jamaica Bay: Big Egg, Four Sparrow, Yellow Bar, and Joco. These values can be converted to monetary estimations and in conjunction with the other economic models, a total value can be developed for the park.

The Manhattanville Project: Managing Stormwater Impacts
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl

Team Members:
Somdat Bhola, Undergraduate Student
Kristal Quispe, High School Student
Maria Grech, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Combined sewer systems are designed to carry commercial and residential waste as well as storm water runoff to wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) before returning water to the environment. During heavy rainfall, the combined runoff may exceed the capacity of the WWTPs, leading to the release of untreated waste into water bodies. This event is called a Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO). CSOs are projected to become worse and more frequent over time, as human populations increase and climate continues to change. Street-level green infrastructure (GI) such as bioswales, enhanced tree pits, street side infiltration swales and permeable pavements are engineered solutions that can help mitigate CSOs by controlling stormwater runoff, a benefit that is not provided by simple street tree planting.

Street-level GI should have a positive impact in New York City both now and in the future, but the long-term efficiency of GI has not yet been explored. For this project, we have used Columbia University's planned Manhattanville campus expansion as a case study to achieve two objectives: 1) analysis and quantification of the benefits that the intro-duction of street-level GI would have on CSOs in an otherwise impermeable urban environment, and 2) assessment of the robustness of this street-level GI under different climate scenarios of future climate change.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2011

Comparison of Aerosol Optical Depth and Angstrom Exponent Retrieved by AERONET, MISR, and MODIS Measurments
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson

Team Members:
Carimaxy Benitez, Undergraduate Student
Brooks Rao, High School Student
Jesse Lieman-Sifry, High School Student
Gerald Rabl, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Aerosol measurements are conducted worldwide in order to identify the impact of aerosols on Earth's radiation balance and its local and global climate. Aerosols are fine solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in the air, with diameters ranging from a few nanometers through a few tens of micrometers. They differ in size, shape, composition, and lifetime, depending on their origin and subsequent atmospheric processing. There are various approaches to aerosol measurements, e.g., ground-based or satellite observations. In this study, we combine satellite measurements obtained by the Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MODIS) instruments, respectively, and data from selected stations of the worldwide ground-based Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) in order to compare the Ångström exponent (AE) and aerosol optical depth (AOD) at a wavelength of 550 nm. We used AERONET measurements as our frame of reference. Four major aerosol types were investigated: urban-industrial, biomass burning, desert dust and maritime. The results show that MISR and MODIS data demonstrate systematic and significant differences in AE and AOD values with respect to AERONET observations. We attribute these differences between AERONET data and satellite MODIS and MISR data to spatial and temporal sampling procedures as well as model assumptions and retrieval algorithms of satellite data.

Validating Regional Climate Models in the Sahel Region of Western Africa
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Lenoard Druyan
Dr. Mathew Fulakeza

Team Members:
Crae Sosa, Undergraduate Student
Kush Dave, High School Student
Howard Spergel, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The West African Monsoon is a climatological moisture system in the Sahel region of Western Africa. The Sahel is an area of grassland located directly south of the Sahara Desert. The rainfall follows a cyclic pattern that shifts north and south seasonally and supplies the annual source of precipitation to these countries. The band typically reaches the Sahel during the summer months of June to September. When the monsoon season is shorter than normal droughts can occur, such as in 2005, when severe problems arose. Due to the sensitive nature of Sahel Rainfall, it is absolutely crucial that reliable climatological models be developed in order to predict rainfall trends in the near and distant future so that the inhabitants of the region can plan accordingly.

White Roofs to the Rescue: Combatting the Urban Heat Island Effect
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Brittany Hsu, Undergraduate Student
Emma Hartung, High School Student
Alan Roditi, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: New York City recently implemented an innovative urban heat island mitigation program that involves painting black roofs white with elastomeric acrylic paint. The city is currently applying this technology to one million square feet of rooftops each summer, and similar efforts are beginning in other cities worldwide. We analyzed the first field data from this New York City cool roofs initiative.

Our results showed that the white roof's surface temperatures were 7.8°C (14.0°F) cooler on average than those of the black roof, and that its high temperatures were 24.3°C (43.7°F) cooler on average. The data show a strong positive correlation between the white surface's cooling effect and incident radiation, indicating that white roofs are most effective during the hottest part of the day and demonstrating the importance of albedo. The albedo tended to be highest in the early morning and evening and lower around midday, which is consistent with previous studies. When the white roof was recoated, its average albedo increased significantly from .35 to .63, demonstrating that white roofs must be repainted if they are to remain effective. Our emissivity results averaged .97 after the recoating, indicating that the white roof releases absorbed heat efficiently.

Carbon Sequestration and Climate Change in Alaskan Peatlands
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Sanpisa Sritrairat, Graduate Student
Alicia McGeachy, Undergraduate Student
Maxamillian Perez, High School Student
Argie Miller, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Global warming and the future of the Earth's carbon cycle are at the forefront of many controversial debates today. Studying carbon accumulation in peatland core samples can help us reconstruct past climate. A four meter core spanning 11,000 years was collected from Bear Bog near Cordova, Alaska in July 2010. This location is of particular interest because it is potentially sensitive to future changes in climate. Another core was collected from Goldmine, near Fairbanks Alaska. The Bear Bog core was analyzed using Loss on Ignition (LOI), a technique used to measure the particular amount of combustible organic material in a given sample and is closely related to the carbon content of the peat, and macrofossils, visible plant remains (seeds, needles, etc) which serve as indicators of changes in vegetation, which are also directly related to climate changes. LOI samples were taken every 2 cm, and macrofossils were analyzed every 10 cm. Through the study of macrofossils and LOI, a record of both climate and carbon sequestration is under development at both sites. We hypothesize that carbon accumulation is strongly controlled by climate, such as abundance of available sunlight and precipitation. The study of this bog and other wetlands throughout Alaska will aid in understanding the Aleutian Low, a semi-permanent low pressure over the North Pacific ocean, which is responsible for the production of most of the precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere, and especially in the western areas. Consideration of carbon accumulation and changes in vegetation will allow for an adequate reconstruction of a climate focused timeline, as well as an understanding environments in Northern and Southern Alaska. Bear Bog and Gold Mine are two sites of three to be used in a study of a south to north transect of Alaskan peatlands.

Into the Future with Green Roofs
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl

Team Members:
Aridia Polanco, Undergraduate Student
Nicolas DeJesus, Undergraduate Student
Kristal Quispe, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: New York City experiences a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island Effect. This effect causes urban regions, with their closely spaced buildings and extensive paved surfaces, to become as much as 9-27˚F warmer than rural areas. As a result, urban communities experience increases in energy demand, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related and air quality illnesses, and a decrease in water quality. These issues are expected to become more severe with future climate change.

Green roofs help to mitigate the urban heat island effect. They also provide ecological benefits for animals and plants that have been displaced from their primary ecosystems. It is evident that green roofs have a positive impact on our "urban ecosystem," but the long-term efficiency of green infrastructure under conditions of future climate in the New York City area has not yet been explored. For this project, we will model various climate change scenarios for New York City over the coming decades, and assess whether green roofs in New York City will need to be adapted, either structurally or ecologically, for temperature and precipitation conditions that may be rather different (and perhaps far more severe) than present.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2010

Investigation of Decadal Changes in Aerosol and Asthma
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson

Team Members:
Carimaxy Benitez, Undergraduate Student
Allison Bostrom, High School Student
Jesse Lieman-Sifry, High School Student
Maria Grech, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Aerosols, particles of various size and composition suspended throughout our atmosphere, affect both the climate and our health. The amount emitted by both anthropogenic and natural sources changes with time, contributing to the variability of the aerosol. Changes in aerosol composition and size alter the aerosol single scattering albedo (SSA), a measure of how much light is reflected by the aerosol. We observed a decrease in SSA at three locations on the eastern seaboard, and believe sub-micron elemental carbon (EC) may be responsible for this change. In addition to their climatic impact, aerosols can also have adverse health effects. Studies inquiring into the relationship between air pollution and asthma have yielded conflicting results. Differences in size distribution and composition may have more of an effect on asthma than simply the concentration of the aerosol.

Sea Surface Temperature and Precipitation in the West African Monsoon Climate
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Lenoard Druyan
Dr. Mathew Fulakeza

Team Members:
Crae Sosa, Undergraduate Student
Sarah Dapul-Weberman, High School Student
Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher
Egbuta Oji, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Due to the variable nature of the monsoon season, it is important to understand the climate of the Sahel region of Africa. Much effort has been put into creating accurate climate simulations of the region in both the short and long term. The climate model used in this project, the RM3 Regional Model at the Center for Climate Systems Research of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), has been configured to simulate weather and climate forecasts over West Africa by taking initial and lateral boundary conditions from either a global model or reanalysis data. The model simulations are used to investigate the impact of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Atlantic Ocean on the movement of storms and intensity of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Certain patterns of SSTs favor Sahel drought. In this project, the forcing data and the SSTs used in the RM3 come from Reanalysis 2, which are provided by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP), National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA). One simulation uses 2006 SSTs, another uses climatological SSTs, and another tests the impact of cold SST anomalies.

Green and White Roofs: The Urban Heat Busters: An Investigation of White and Black Roofs, Biodiversity, and Water Retention
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Chistina Speciale, Undergraduate Student
Brittany Hsu, High School Student
Alan Roditi, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: We proposed three questions about green roofs: (A) What are the differences in retaining heat on black and white roofs? (B) What type of insect biodiversity exists on green roofs? (C) How much stormwater runoff can green roofs retain? First, black and white roofs were compared to see which retained less heat in the wintertime. Our conclusions were not as expected because it showed white roofs to be generally warmer than black roofs. Our analysis sent us back to question the manufacturer about the emissivity of the white material used. Second, we observed the insect biodiversity on green roofs. We monitored and collected ants, flies, and bees that begin to inhabit a green roof from initial planting to mature growth. Third, we calculated the percentage of stormwater that was permanently retained on the Con Edison green roofs. Our analysis showed that green roofs retained 30% of the stormwater.

Environmental Change in the Hudson Estuary Marshes
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Sanpisa Sritrairat, Graduate Student
Max Perez, High School Student
Zhehan Huang, High School Student
Argie Miller, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Wetlands are a useful proxy for understanding the changes within an environment over time. Because of the anoxic conditions, marshes preserve leaves, seeds, pollen, and elemental composition in it's sediment, which can provide information about vegetational history, land use, climate and carbon storage over time. In order to obtain these preserved samples, cores must be taken in order to accurately study the sediments. The depth of a core is an ecological timeline from top to bottom. Depending on the variety of organic matter, plant species, and elemental composition, we can determine what happened around each sampling interval representing a specific time period. We do this with methods such as Loss on Ignition (LOI) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF).

Estimating Variations in Salinity and Freshwater Flux in the Hudson River Estuary Over the Past 6-7 Millenia
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Baruch Tabanpour, Undergraduate Student
Johnathon Nichols, Post-Doc
Peter Isles, Graduate Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: We are investigating a new method for estimating annual river discharge for the past 6-7 millennia using D/H ratios of fossil leaf waxes in sediment cores in Hudson marshes. We are currently measuring Hydrogen isotopes of leaf waxes in vascular marsh plants (see Figure 1) to be calibrated to salinity and freshwater flux over the past year using data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Once the calibration is established, the δD of fossil leaf waxes in marsh cores along the Hudson River will be used to estimate variations in the salinity and thus Hudson River discharge for the past 6,000-7,000 years. This will help us better understand the paleoclimate and paleohydrology of the Hudson River Estuary.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2009

Study of West African Monsoons Through Forecast-Driven Regional Climate Model Simulations
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Len Druyan
Dr. Matthew Fulakeza

Team Members:
David Thomason, Undergraduate Student
Sarah Dapul-Weberman, High School Student
Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher
Egbuta Oji, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The RM3 Regional Model, developed at the Center for Climate Systems Research of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), has been configured to simulate forecasts over West Africa by taking lateral boundary condition data from the National Center for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS). These boundary conditions are provided in 1° resolution and are downscaled to the model's 0.5° resolution. The model is currently running at both NASA GISS and the headquarters of the African Center of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) in Niamey, Niger. The outputs are then posted on the ACMAD website. To ensure that the people who utilize the resources provided by ACMAD are getting useful information from the RM3, the model must be constantly monitored and validated at NASA GISS. To accomplish this, comparative analyses have been done between RM3 and TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite) for precipitation validation, as well as against NCEP Reanalysis II for wind circulation and surface temperature validation.

NYC's Urban Heat Island — A Study of Varios Thermal Temperatures, Albedos, and Infrared Emissivities
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Lawrence Brazin, Undergraduate Student
Brittany Hsu, High School Student
Reid Jenkins, High School Student
Michael Ferrebee, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: In this project we considered three areas of study investigating the mitigation of the Urban Heat Island Effect. The first task compared the interior cooling effects of a controlled dark roof with a green roof. Without being able to control variables, we were unable to establish clear cooling benefits in green roofs. The second task was to find materials that could replace the dangerously hot black mats in playgrounds.  Sand and gray mats were tested and shown to be cooler. The final task involved developing a methodology for using handheld equipment to determine emissivities on various urban surfaces. Through field-testing we produced a working procedure for accurately determining emissivities. These studies provided invaluable insight into the difficulties associated with this relatively new field of Urban Heat Island research. Future studies include doing a before and after comparison to allow for better control of the variables in green roof buildings, studying different types of playground mats, and testing emissivities for a variety of different materials in urban settings.

Improving Polarization Measurement Methods
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson,
Dr. James Frost,
Dr. Brian Cairns

Team Members:
Christopher Bussetti, Undergraduate Student
Arianna Moshary, High School Student
Natalie Williams, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The aerosols in the atmosphere have an important yet poorly understood effect on human lives. NASA has studied greenhouse gases and their effect on the environment in depth, but NASA is only fairly recently beginning to study and understand aerosols. This coming January, NASA will launch the GLORY mission, a satellite which will collect data on the aerosols in the environment partly by use of a polarimeter. While this data will be extremely valuable, it is also important to collect data at ground level to compare to the data collected from orbit. Thus, this team has been working on developing accurate and effective polarimeters to use from Earth.

In our project last year, we were able to build a solar cell polarimeter that could measure polarization and allowed us to generate DOLP graphs. However, the data we collected was not very accurate and the equipment we were using was bulky and inefficient. This year's project focuses on the use of newer technology to better measure aerosols, the digital camera. Using a high-tech SLR and polarizing filter, we were able to collect our data and then process it using both Adobe Photoshop and a computer program written in IDL which we are still perfecting.

Human and Climate Changes in the Hundson River Estuary Wetlands
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Sanpisa Sritrairat, Graduate Student
Cleo Chou, Undergraduate Student
Caty Schubmehl, Undergraduate Student
Max Perez, High School Student
Argie Miller, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The Hudson River has had a great history and serve as an important natural resources-from being the sanctuary for waterfowls, fish, and other wildlife, to purifying water. Thus, the understanding of past environmental change and possible future changes is required. Marshes are great archives of ecosystem and climate changes. In this study, we try to investigate the usage of elemental composition of marsh sediments to refer to the paleoclimate and environmental changes on the estuary. Using certain "elemental markers", we can determine things such as human arrival, land use changes, pollution history, chronology, and climate changes. The study took place at various marshes along the Hudson Estuary, having different vegetation, salinity, and history.

Gauging the Potential Climate Change Impacts from WWTP N2O Emissions
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl, Dr. Mark Chandler
Dr. Kartik Chandran

Team Members:
Carimaxy Benitez, Undergraduate Student
Francisco Benavides, High School Student
Mohamed Shanap, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: N2O, or nitrous oxide, is a lesser-known but potent greenhouse gas, with over 300x the greenhouse warming potential of carbon dioxide. It is also one of six greenhouse gases recently classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pollutant that can be regulated. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has included N2O in its various scenarios for climate change over the next century, one potential anthropogenic source of N2O has not been included in their projections – namely, N2O emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). For this project, we added new projections for N2O emissions from WWTPs to the IPCC climate change scenarios, to gauge the potential warming impact from this additional man-made source of N2O.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2008

Developing a Data Management System for NYC's 1st Green Roof Meteorological Network
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Daniel Novak, High School Teacher
Jacob Eichenbaum-Pikser, Undergraduate Student
Lawrence Brazin, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Tasks Accomplished:
* Developed real-time webpages that provide access to current meteorological conditions on and around green roofs at anytime
* Created a remote data backup and recovery system that permits analysis of weather data
* Streamlined the data communication hardware and software

Future Plans:
* Provide user-friendly method for uploading data to GISS servers
* Analyze incoming data
* Oversee Con Edison green roof installation of meteorological tower
* Linda Tool-installation and monitoring
* Incorporate NYC Met-Net into NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) website

Paleoecology, Organic Matter and Carbon Content of Decodon Pond (fresh) and Jamaica Bay (tidal) NY Wetlands
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Sanpisa Stritrairat, Graduate Student
Argie Miller, High School Teacher
David Cruz, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

This study is a stratigraphic examination of core sediment samples collected from Decodon Pond in Alley Pond Park at Queens, New York on January 30, 2008 and core sample sediments collected on July 21, 2008 in Jamaica Bay, Queens, NY. We examine macrofossils in Decodon Pond core and organic matter content in both cores. Decodon Pond macrofossils record indicates significant vegetation shifts, organic matter and charcoal increases, and change in lithology toward the present time. Jamaica Bay core exhibits changes in LOI and inorganic matter density as well.

The Pliocene Warm Interval: Is it an Analogue for Future Warming?
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl

Team Members:
Sonali Shukla, Graduate Student
Mohamed Shanap, High School Teacher
Carimaxy Benitez, Undergraduate Student

Francisco Benavides, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The Pliocene Epoch (5.3 to 2.6 Ma) is the last "great global warming" before the beginning of the Pleistocene ice age. Paleoclimate proxy data, such as animal and plant fossils on land or in the ocean, suggest that the Earth was 2 to 3 degrees C warmer than present, with the most pronounced heating found in the polar regions. There may also have been a persistent El Niño-like feature, called El Padre, that led to increased warmth of tropical ocean surface waters. Despite these differences, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 during the Pliocene was similar to current day levels (380 ± 40 ppm). For this reason, climate researchers want to understand whether the Pliocene represents a warm world in an equilibrium state, a condition that we may eventually achieve in the near future even if CO2 emissions are stabilized. For our study, we used EdGCM/GISS GCM Model II to explore whether an El Padre could have contributed to the Pliocene global warming. We have also examined to what extent we can draw parallels between the regional climate impacts of an El Padre-driven Pliocene climate, and a strong modern El Niño, such as the 1997/1998 event, which has been projected to become a persistent feature of a future warm climate. We find that an El Padre/persistent El Niño could have played an important warming role for the Pliocene, and therefore has implications for our future climate.

Understanding Aerosols Through Polarization
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Brian Cairns
Dr. James Frost

Team Members:
Lisa Meirowitch, High School Teacher
Christopher Bussetti, Undergraduate Student
Arianna Moshary, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

This project studies the different ways to gather information about the variety of aerosols in the atmosphere. This project also focuses on trying to improve the current methods of collecting such information. Instruments such as the Microtops II Handheld Sun Photometer can be used to measure the aerosol optical thickness of the atmosphere; however, it does not tell us the refractive indices of the particles. Furthermore, these instruments cannot tell us the degree of polarization of sunlight at different scattering angles. In this study, we focused on using the polarization of light in the atmosphere to try to gain insight into what was causing that polarization of previously unpolarized natural light. To do this, we built a solar cell polarimeter which detects and measures the intensity of light at different angles, polarizations, and wavelengths. We collected data using this polarimeter and used it to further understand the aerosol particles in the air. Another aspect of this project was improving our solar cell polarimeter so that it works more efficiently and increases the validity of our data. To improve our polarimeter, we began to design a Wollaston Prism polarimeter which will collect data more accurately and efficiently. The Wollaston Prism polarimeter is still in the process of being built, but early analysis shows promise for the device.

Validating West African Regional Climate Model Simulations using Satellite and Observational Data
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Len Druyan

Team Members:
Dr. Matthew Fulakeza

Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher
Charles Sosa, Undergraduate Student
David Thomason, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The RM3 28-atmospheric layer Regional Model at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies is configured to simulate the climate of West Africa. Using NCEP (National Center for Environmental Prediction) reanalysis data for boundary conditions, the RM3 interprets the information and produces a higher resolution distribution of data points with 0.5° (50km) spacing. However, in order to optimize the accuracy of the model, it must be assessed through validation against other sources such as TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission), FEWS (Famine Early Warning System), and CMORPH (Climate Prediction Center Morphing Technique). These observational estimates compute sets of data using algorithms to combine different satellite readings of atmospheric conditions. As a result, their ability to be used as controls for model validation must be tested. Comparisons between data sets have demonstrated notable differences in their outputs. Different comparative techniques are being considered, as well as the inclusion of ground observational data for more local areas to provide an "unaltered" meteorological reading. Once the most reliable data set is determined, its data will be used for comparative analysis with the RM3 as well as other regional climate models, including the UK Met Office model and the WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2007

Analysis of Organic Matter Accumulation in Wetlands
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Team Members:
Argie Miller, High School Teacher
Miriam Jones, Graduate Student
Sanpisa Sritrairat, Graduate Student
Tamika Tannis, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

This study analyzed the organic matter accumulation rates of wetlands in Alaska and wetlands in New York. A Loss-On-Ignition (LOI) analysis was done to obtain the amount of organic matter in the sediment samples. Using LOI data and sedimentation rates based on radiocarbon dates, organic matter accumulation values were plotted against time. After a comparing the results from Alaskan wetlands to each other, it is evident that annual precipitation and temperatures affect organic matter accumulation. After comparing the results from the wetlands from New York to each other, we see how salinity and vegetation types also affect organic matter accumulation. Results from Alaskan wetland sites shows that Swanson Fen has higher peat accumulation than Dark Bank. From New York wetlands, the salt marshes at Joco and Yellow Bar have accumulation 100 times higher than Tivoli Bays, the freshwater site. The New York sites have higher peat accumulation than the Alaska sites, potentially related to temperature, growing season length, and vegetation type.

Attribution by Nation of Human-Induced Atmospheric CO2
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Timothy Hall

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Francesca Terenzi, Graduate Student

Team Members:
Natalie Williams, High School Teacher
Stanley Qwok, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the major greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The natural carbon cycle is a process that keeps the atmospheric level of CO2 as close to equilibrium as possible. However, after the start of the industrial era, the amount of atmospheric CO2 has been increasing at an alarming rate. Due to the excess amount of anthropogenic CO2 being released into the atmosphere, the natural sinks were unable to absorb the extra amount of CO2. Studies have shown that if the atmospheric level of CO2 were to continue to increase, there will be an adverse affects on the climate. The main focus of this study is to attribute the atmospheric CO2 to each country's emission and to determine which measure of attribution is the best. To quantify the contributions of each country, three different computational methods are used.

Mining Observational Data from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis to Optimize & Validate Climate Model Simulations
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Leonard M. Druyan

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Matthew Fulakeza

Team Members:
Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher (National Science Foundation)

Charles Sosa, Undergraduate Student

David Thomason, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The RM3 Regional Model at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies is configured to simulate the climate of West Africa. Using the larger, lower-resolution Global Climate Model and the NCEP (National Center for Environmental Prediction) reanalysis data for boundary conditions, the RM3 interprets the information and produces a higher resolution distribution of data points with 0.5° (50km) spacing. However, in order to optimize the accuracy of the model, it must be assessed through validation against observations. From atmospheric observation programs instituted by AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis) and NAMMA (NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis) as well as from satellites such as the TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission), MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), and QuikSCAT (Quick Scatterometer), data can be collected and organized so that the Regional Model can be validated with representations of actual climate events. In order for the observational data to be useful, the meteorological variables, times of observation and exact locations of atmospheric measurements must be acquired from the many different sources. In addition, the different graphical representations of the observational data must be considered as well as their tabulation. As the RM3 is validated and perfected, its accuracy and ability to simulate future atmospheric conditions can be improved. Once the RM3 is ready, it can serve many different functions, including weather prediction for organizations such as ACMAD (African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development). Another function of the RM3, the simulation of soil moisture and surface (or "skin") temperature, would allow scientists to analyze the relationships between meteorological events such as storms and droughts and the environment's ability to produce a substantial crop yield. Most importantly, improved climate and weather forecasts for African countries would help prepare citizens for epidemics of diseases such as meningitis and malaria that occur during the rainy season, as well as economic difficulties from deficient agricultural production associated with drought. Agricultural preparations would help to counteract the specter of long and all too frequent occurrences of drought that have led to famine throughout West Africa.

NYC's Urban Heat Island — Characterizing Sources of Heat from Typical Urban Surfaces
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Team Members:
Lisa Meirowitch, High School Teacher
Harrison Hsu, Undergraduate Student
Lawrence Brazin, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

This project studies temperatures of typical urban surfaces to understand urban heat island mitigation. Contrasting environmental conditions include white versus black roofs, natural versus artificial turf, shaded versus non-shaded areas, and bare versus ivied walls. East Harlem is also studied. Infrared thermosensors measure surface and air temperatures there. Analysis shows that high albedos and evapo-transpiration can cause cooling. Urban heat island mitigation strategies that use these factors, such as vegetated & reflective surfaces, may be more effective. Preliminary evidence suggests that urban vegetation is significantly more effective than high-albedo surfaces.

Pre-GLORY Assessment of Aerosol Characteristics
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Reginald Blake

Team Members:
Steve Pollack, High School Teacher
Kirk Knobelspiesse, Undergraduate Student
Ian Rubenstein, Undergraduate Student
Jeanette Moreland, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

NASA has tentative plans to launch the GLORY satellite in 2008 that will measure atmospheric aerosols and pollutants. The study of aerosols is very important because aerosols have both cooling and heating effects on earth's climate. The cooling effect that aerosols have on the surface of the Earth is known as direct climate forcing. This is due to the direct reflection of radiation from the sun. Aerosols also have an effect on the radiative properties of Earth's cloud cover, known as indirect climate forcing. Although scientists are studying the properties of aerosols, not much is known about them. Through this investigation, data is being collected and analyzed to help locate regional aerosol trends, and use devices that measure Aerosol Optical Thickness to validate other instruments. The Polarimeter on the GLORY satellite has the ability to measure aerosols by looking at light reflectance, which can help identify concentrations of different types of aerosol in the air. Ultimately, sifting through data retrieved on particle concentration and Aerosol Optical thickness from land-based instruments will allow for the recognition of trends. This will define "baseline" aerosol characteristics in the New York region that can be used for validation purposes. Comparisons between urban and rural areas have also been made. Another aspect of this project is developing an initial protocol for the GLORY ground-truth validation. By comparing GLOBE sunphotometer data to AOT data from other instruments, the accuracy of the sunphotometers can be analyzed. After tests have been completed to make sure the instruments have been calibrated correctly, a protocol for accurate readings by high school and middle school students can be created. These instruments will be distributed to students around the world to take readings of Aerosol Optical Thickness as part of the satellite validation plan.

Triggers for the Late Ordovician Ice Age: Volcanic Aerosols vs. CO2
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Linda Sohl

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Mark Chandler

Team Members:
Conrad Cunningham, Undergraduate Student
Eric Santiago, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Facts to Know about the Late Ordovician Ice Age:
* Started about 500 million years ago.
* Hardly any plants or animals lived on the land; most were in the sea.
* Compared to today's Sun, the Sun of the Ordovician was 4% dim.
* Most land masses were in the Southern Hemisphere.

Conclusions:
* Ord_testrun3 shows that an ice age is highly improbable with high atmospheric CO2, no matter what the level of solar luminosity.
* Ord_testrun8 gives us the most probable conditions on Earth that would help create an ice age.
* Future simulations will explore the effects of both high SO2 and low CO2 on Ordovician climate.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2006

Validation of Regional Model Simulations over West Africa Using the TRMM
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Len Druyan

Co-Principle Investigator(Co-PI):
Dr. Matthew Fulakeza

Researchers:
Ruben Worrell, High School Teacher (National Science Foundation)

Alexis Phillips, Undergraduate Student (Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium)

Charles Sosa, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Based upon the date, data from the TRMM Satellite (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) is needed for the simulated time period.

The TRMM helps in making sure that the output from the regional models is at least close to accurate.

The satellite gives an account of what actually happened for the time period specified, in the region specified.

All outputs from the TRMM and Regional Model(s) will be run through Transform

Gives a side-by-side comparison of the TRMM (actual) and the Regional Models

When all outputs are put through Transform and interpolated (image creation), a comparison can be made by differencing either the 28 layer with the TRMM or the 16 layer with the TRMM.

The Modeling and Forcings of Global Precipitation
Team Members

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Gavin Schmidt

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Drew Shindell

Researchers:
Geraldine Sustik, High School Teacher
Lina Cordero

Miriam Fogel, SHARP Apprentice
Stefan Campbell, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

* GHGs have the largest effect (aerosols cancel)
* Indirect aerosols' impact around the equator and N. Hemisphere
* All Forcings line is roughly all others combined (some not included)
* Major changes in last 30 years for model, no ocean for observation
* Observation has larger increase in precipitation overall
* Perhaps too many aerosols in model

The Role of Trees in Mitigating the Urban Heat Island Effect
Team Members

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Mentors:
Adam Greenbaum
Lisa Meirowitch

Researchers:
Carimaxy Benitez, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary
-How do trees affect surface and air temperature?
-We collected data from sites with similar architecture and tree species.
-With this data, we hope to make recommendations to NYSERDA on tree planting.
Is New York City a Source of Aerosols?
Team Members

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Reggie Blake

Mentors:
Laura Hatten, High School Teacher

Researchers:
Hubert Salmon, Undergraduate Student
Konrad Cunningham, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The SCIAMACHY satellite was used to track the amount of NO2 released

For the month of July New York City is seen to have high levels of NO2 as evidenced by our study.

Chlorofluorocarbons and Sea Ice Concentration in the Southern Ocean
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Timothy Hall

Mentors:
Dr. Christian Rodehacke
Carla Brathwaite, High School Teacher (National Science Foundation)

Researchers:
Scott Alfano, Undergraduate Student
Cesar Colon, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Project Tasks:
* Focus on Southern Ocean and changing ice formations based on seasons
* Interpret satellite data, make plots showing ice for specific days and months

Future Work:
Look into why "lag" between CFC and Ice Data is almost exactly two months, causes, etc.

Analysis & Comparison of Carbon and Carbon Content in Wetlands
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Mentors:
Argie Miller, High School Teacher

Researchers:
Miriam Jones, Graduate Student
Sanpisa Sritrairat, Graduate Student
Tamika Tannis, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Purpose:

Scientists are interested in how much carbon wetlands can store to find a way to combat global warming and rising C02 levels, and also to know how much carbon would be released if wetlands were destroyed.

Analyzed the carbon storage ability of the Swanson Fen wetland in Alaska and marsh in Tivoli, New York. A Loss-On-Ignition (LOI) analysis was done to obtain the amount of organic matter in the core. Data used to calculate the total carbon and total organic matter of both cores.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2005

Investigating the Distribution of Aerosols in New York City
Team Members

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Barbara Carlson

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Reggie Blake

Mentors:
Laura Hatten, High School Teacher
Dr. Scott Gianelli

Researchers:
Aaron Jones, Undergraduate Student
Karen Padavatton
Kendra Braithwaite, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentations
Summary

This investigation will focus on investigating the distribution of aerosol in the New York City metropolitan region through the analysis of Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR) data. The MFRSR simultaneously measures the amount of sunlight transmitted through the atmosphere in six narrowband spectral channels. The spectral locations of the channels have been selected to provide information on aerosols (effective radius and optical depth, a measure of how much aerosol are present), and gases (ozone, nitrogen dioxide and water vapor column amounts). The spatial distribution of MFRSRs in the New York Metropolitan region will allow us to assess whether or not New York City is a source of regional aerosol. Since aerosols have been shown to alter the properties of clouds and hence precipitation rates and component of this investigation will seek to put our aerosol investigation into a climatological perspective by examining local changes in precipitation patterns.

Urban Heat Island Projection and Columbia Green Roofs Workshop
Using NASA Landsat-7 Remote Sensing Data
Team Members

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Stuart Gaffin

Researchers:
Adam Greenbaum, Undergraduate Student
Jason Jayanty, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

(1) The NYSERDA Urban Heat Island Study:This project received funding from the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The project began during the Summer 2004. It is a collaboration between NASA GISS and Hunter College researchers with Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig (GISS) and Dr. William Solecki (Hunter) as the co-principle investigators.

The goal of the project is to elucidate the principle factors in NY city's urban heat island (UHI) effect and to integrate these findings with an analysis of climate change and Con Edison 'load pocket' electricity consumption data. The project is also studying various mitigation scenarios for the UHI, especially urban tree planting and green roofing scenarios. The regional climate model MM5 is being run along with extensive GIS data analyses to quantify these scenarios. NASA Landsat-7 surface temperature and land cover data play a central role in the project.

(2) Columbia Green Roofs Workshop:This workshop is the first of its kind in the New York area and is being offered this Spring 2005 by Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Dr. Stuart R. Gaffin of Columbia is the instructor.

The workshop is an intensive study of the potential role of extensive green roofing for mitigating a number of environmental problems for the NY metropolitan region including: the urban heat island and energy demand, air quality, stormwater overflows into the NY harbor, the need for urban green space and real estate amenity and other issues.The students consist of Master's Thesis candidates in SIPA and the workshop is intended to be a research experience with new emerging data. Urban heat island and energy consumption mitigation is a major thematic topic in the class. Some of students are focusing on this and advancing GISS's understanding of how green roofs can help reduce global warming and UHI impacts.

The students are working with the same NASA Landsat-7 image shown above and will be relating it to local issues. For example, Columbia University is planning a new Manhattanville campus in the West 130th Street area and 'green' building design, including green roofs is a focus. The Landsat data show clearly that Manhattanville is a hotspot with respect to UHI and this will be integrated into the planning. The workshop students will be partnering with Columbia planners and other classes studying the best urban design solutions for the new campus.

Results from the NYSERDA project described above are being made available to the students as the NYSERDA project proceeds.

Paleoenvironment of the Lower Hudson River Valley
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Dorothy Peteet

Mentors:
Elsa Moralda, High School Teacher

Miriam Jones
Dee Pederson

Researchers:
Max Lerner

Carimaxy Benitez, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Ongoing paleoenvironmental data from pollen and seeds in the protected marshes of the lower Hudson River Valley (Jamaica Bay, Staten Island, Piermont Marsh) indicates that major shifts in the watershed of the Hudson Valley have taken place. These shifts involve climate change as well as estuarine changes due to European impact. We have just published evidence for the dramatic drought that New York experienced during the Medieval Warming Interval, approximately 800-1250 AD (Pederson et al., Quaternary Research, in press). We would like to expand our research to include a modern pollen sample database from the Hudson marshes and upland lakes that would serve as an ideal benchmark to evaluate our paleorecords. We also would like to sample the vegetation from the individual marshes to document their C-13 isotopic signature (C-4 vs. C-3 plants), as we are documenting the C-13 changes downcore. These projects are comprised of both field laboratory components for a NASA NYC Research Initiative (NYCRI) team of high school, undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. Specific details of this research project are available upon request.

Chlorofluorocarbons in the Ocean
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Timothy Hall

Researchers:
Dr. Christian Rodehacke

Rayhan Ahmed

Scott Alfano

Cesar Colon, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are trace gases of industrial origin and are infamous for their role in stratospheric ozone depletion. Less well known is the fact that a small fraction of atmospheric CFCs have entered the ocean via gas exchange. Chemically inert in seawater, CFCs are carried along by ocean currents and turbulent mixing. Their propagation from surface entry points to the ocean interior provides crucial information on rates of ocean transport. This information can then be applied to quantities such as carbon dioxide and heat. Quantifying the ocean's role in sequestering these quantities is crucial to understanding Earth's changing climate. This NYCRI project involves working with ocean CFC data to document the evolution of CFCs in surface waters. Quantifying this evolution is a key step in extracting information from CFCs on surface-to-interior transport rates. The student will work with measurements taken during several ocean-going research cruises, coupled with the observed atmospheric CFC history. He/she will compare actual surface-water CFC concentrations to those that would be expected if surface-water CFCs were in equilibrium with the atmosphere, using well-known equilibrium relationships. We are particularly interested in knowing how the difference from air-sea equilibrium has varied in time.

The Effects of Climate and Emission Changes on Surface Sulfate Wet Deposition in 2030
Team Members

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Gavin Schmidt

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Drew Shindell

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Nadine Bell

Researchers:
Susan Harder

Joel Arberman, High School Teacher
Konrad Cunningham, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

This study attempts to answer two questions:

1) Do future changes in physical climate affect sulfur deposition?

Comparisons of present day (1995) and future (2030) climate conditions and its effect on changes in distributions of wet sulfate deposition

2) How will changes in future emissions (from fossil fuel burning) affect sulfur deposition?

Comparisons of A1B and B1 scenarios under future climate conditions to the control 1995 data set.

Goddard Institute for Space Studies — 2004 (continued in 2005)

Regional Model Studies of African Wave Disturbances and Sahel Climate Variability, Part II
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Len Druyan

Co-Principle Investigator(Co-PI):
Dr. Matthew Fulakeza

Researchers:
Monsour A., High School Teacher (2004)

Gil Zamfirescu-Pereira, SHARP Apprentice (2004)

Charles Sosa, SHARP Apprentice (2005)

2005 Final Research Presentation
2004 Final Research Presentation
Summary

Climate variability in Africa's Sahel region has serious soci-economic implications. A better understanding of the climate dynamics for this region must consider synoptic weather and climate features, such as African wave disturbances (AWD), squall lines, the mid-tropospheric African Easterly Jet, the intertropical convergence precipitation maximum and the Tropical Easterly Jet, which are all under-resolved by the typical resolutions of global analyses and global climate models. Prior work at the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research has demonstrated the advantages of a high resolution, limited area, regional climate model (RM) for studying the characteristics of AWD and their relationship to the mean summer climate. Discrepancies in RM simulated mean climate fields and their implications for synoptic systems were previously noted. RM performance has been improved by incorporating the same land surface process model and the same moist convection parameterization used for years in the GISS GCM. The proposed research will produce a new set of climate analyses by downscaling NCEP re-analyses to a 0.5° grid over West Africa with the latest version of the RM. Some twenty seasons of the RM product will be systematically validated and evaluated and differences between rainy and drought composites will be documented. The proposed research will greatly benefit from the recent availability of 0.5° gridded analyses of observed monthly mean precipitation accumulations and surface air temperatures created by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (New et al., 2000). Results from the improved RM can now be validated against the CRU observations at the same horizontal resolution. AWD characteristics, periodicities, amplitudes, frequency of occurrence and associated precipitation patterns will be analyzed for each simulated summer and differences between rainy and dry conditions noted. Relevant climate mechanisms, from planetary to regional scales will be identified to increase our understanding of how they influence the interannual variability of Sahel seasonal rainfall. An experiment has been designed to evaluate the improvements in the spatial definition of climate features achieved by the downscaling technique. The relative advantages of nudging and periodic reinitialization will be tested.

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